Citizens of India, Pakistan and Britain continue to lead the non-Arab investors in Dubai's real estate sector with official and industry executives forecasting bright outlook for the industry.
Figures released by Dubai Land Department (DLD) showed that 13,759 real estate transactions worth Dh58 billion were recorded in Q1 2018 as compared to 20,000 transactions to the tune of Dh77 billion were registered in the same period last year, recording a decline of nearly 25 per cent and 31 per cent in value and volume, respectively.
Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director-general of DLD, said Dubai remains an attractive destination for investors seeking a safe return on investment, which is evident from the emirate's base of investors, who belong to more than 217 nationalities from all over the world.
"The Dubai real estate market continues to show growth, driven by general optimism and confidence in the real estate sector."
GCC investors made 2,500 transactions wroth Dh6 billion while other Arab investors made 1,250 transactions worth over Dh2 billion. Foreign investors made 5,000 transactions with a total of Dh10 billion in Q1 2018.
Among nationalities, 1,264 Emiratis made 1,587 transactions worth Dh4 billion followed by 1,387 Indian investors injecting Dh3 billion in 1,550 transactions. Saudis came in third place with Dh1.3 billion followed by Pakistani, the British, Chinese, Egyptian, Russian, Jordanian and Canadian nationals ranking from the 6th to 10th, respectively.
According to DLD, Q1 2018 saw a total of 9,092 sales transaction worth about Dh19 billion, 3,717 mortgage transactions worth over Dh30.6 billion, and 950 other transactions valued at Dh8.4 billion.
While Dh18 billion was invested in the emirate's property sector in Q1 2018 by 8,071 investors in 9,642 real estate investments. This is compared to Dh40 billion investments made through 15,501 investment transactions made in Q1 2017.
DLD chief Bin Mejren said the current results show strong momentum in the real estate sector, which is expected to continue throughout the remainder of 2018 and into 2019.
"Analysts and experts predict an upsurge as we enter 2019 with unprecedented strength, as many strategic infrastructure projects are due to be completed in Dubai in preparation for Expo 2020," he said.
Atif Rahman, partner and director of Danube Properties, is also very bullish, especially in the affordable and the mid-market segment.
"Dubai will continue to attract investment in real estate for a few simple reasons: return on investment is still very high as we have demonstrated in our properties - offering 15-20 per cent upon handover, when the investor has just paid less than 50 per cent of the property. Affordable and mid-market segments will continue to drive buying and selling activities," Rahman added.
Sailesh Jatania, CEO of Gemini Property Developers, noted that Dubai's real estate market continues to defy the odds and Dubai Land Department's Q1 report is a living testimony of that.
He said the emirate will continue to attract foreign investment due to its unique selling points (USPs) - higher rental yield that translates to higher return on investment, strong connectivity with the rest of the world, free repatriation of capital and profits, sound regulatory regime that protects investment and a growth-driven leadership - that means business.
"The report demonstrates that the market is well-supported by investors and developers will be able to carry on with their projects as buyers are coming to Dubai market where new supplies are also attracting the real estate investment trust funds. We see an exciting times ahead," he added.
Lewis Allsopp, CEO, real estate firm Allsopp & Allsopp, said Dubai's property market has undoubtedly matured, and will continue to do so.
He said it's a common trend in other mature markets that people shift from renting to buying. We are seeing some very attractive prices for first-time buyers and investors alike, in communities such as Jumeirah Beach Residence, Jumeirah Village Circle and the growing communities in Dubai South, ahead of Expo 2020.
"Our local and international clientele are definitely showing more confidence in the sustainability of Dubai's property market. Property project developers are facing stiffer competition, but this will lead to more high-class properties being delivered to market on time. We are extremely positive about the future property pipeline here," said Allsopp.
During Q1, the level of investment from women was also exceptionally high, with 2,431 female investors making 2,780 investments exceeding Dh4.4 billion.
The DLD figures showed that Business Bay topped the list with 973 transaction worth Dh2 billion followed by Dubai Marina with 720 worth Dh1.37 billion.